Getting gouged at the meter


To the editor:

Chris Hubbards parking op-ed (Citys parking policy encourages vehicle usage, July 29, 2010) makes an excellent point about increasing the cost of driving by jacked-up parking meter rates translating into increased transit usage. He then cites the King Street trolley as an example. But what should give readers pause is what he didnt say. 

When the King Street trolley first started in April 2008, it ran every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Then, when the budget crunch hit, City Hall scaled it back to its current every-20-minutes schedule from 11:30 a.m. until 10:10 p.m. If the city was really serious about increasing parking meter rates to divert traffic to transit, City Hall would have returned the trolley to its original schedule coincident with the parking meter rate increase. 

The citys failure to do so means that, instead of risking waiting for almost 20 minutes each way to catch the next trolley, Old Town visitors will go elsewhere because parking is too expensive and cumbersome. The parking meter rate increase instead will translate into reduced customer traffic for Old Town businesses and accordingly reduced tax revenue. 

Frankly, a 75 percent increase in the middle of the worst downturn since the Great Depression was not only too much to increase parking meter rates at once, but without countervailing improvements in trolley frequency, bald-faced gouging. 

Dino Drudi